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Paulyball

Over the last 8 weeks, I had the distinct pleasure of being part of a recreational volleyball team.  Let’s back up a bit.  Near the beginning of training at my new job, some co-workers and I decided we should get together weekly to exercise, burn off some steam, and gossip intensely about our workplace.  This plan worked swimmingly until we realized the fatal flaw: I am no good at volleyball.  The only weak areas of my game are that I am physically unable to serve, set, spike, block, or go an entire game without pulling a muscle.  I can jump, though.  I can even jump pretty high.  The opposing team would be intimidated by my mad net rush, then quickly realize it was all a ruse to disguise my utter lack of every other talent.  By the games’ end, the other team would be purposely hitting the ball in my direction, just to see me faceplant into the sand while launching the ball into adjacent courts.

Oh, and I am an incredible dancer.  When they put 90’s slow jams over the loudspeakers, I sent opponents into utter confusion with my flawless steps, shakes, and the all-important “raising the roof”.

I single-handedly cost my team several matches and countless more measures of morale.  They are very kind not to have stuffed me into trash cans post-game or slashed my tires at work on game days.  Well, they never admitted to the time my tires mysteriously were slashed, at least.

Lessons I learned from volleyball:

1. There are very few things I am good at.

2. The few things I am good at do not help me at volleyball.

3. If you face off against a team called “Team Awesome”, you will lose, no matter how valiantly you struggle to upset them.

I could write volumes about our epic battles with “Team Awesome”, but this is neither the time nor the place.  (That would be a side project I’m working on.  I’m on “Team Awesome Volume VI: Ea-Es” at the moment.  Look for the boxed set of the exhaustive account in stores soon.  It makes a lovely Christmas gift.)  The most frustrating part about Team Awesome is that they were so darn nice.  Their overwhelming graciousness lit a fire in me quicker than a stray spark on a Wal-Mart crib mattress.  I’m trying to move on and forgive them for their outlandish benevolence, but I’m only human.  They, of course, went undefeated.  24-0.  Ridiculous.  They didn’t even have matching team t-shirts like we did.  Some say that I’m just being childish, but people who say that are a big bunch of poo-poo heads.

I purposely do not have any video from my performance on the volleyball court, as it would tarnish my reputation even further.  If it became even more tarnished, you’d have to clean it with a jack hammer.  I would come home every night covered in a sandy dust, with several ounces of sand nestled deeply in unspeakable places.  If my bathtub ever backs up, I know it’s because the water cannot get past the 50 pounds of sand in the pipes after 8 weeks of v-ball.

I would like to personally thank my teammates: José, Megan, Katherine, Al, and Sara(h).  I would also like to thank our subs who stepped in when there were scheduling conflicts and when José sprained his ankle: Alicia and Kate.  My friends, it was a glorious season, and I measure it a complete success, because we did not finish last in the standings.  Second-to-last, yes.  But last?  I don’t think so!

UPDATE: Just as I was preparing to post this, I was scratching my head, and I found a piece of sand still attached to my scalp.  It may have been a termite egg, but if I say it was sand, it’s more relevant to the story.

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  1. Phil
    October 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    The great family tradition of excellence continues with you. I am so proud.

    • kylebaxter
      October 8, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      Sportsmen we’re not.

  2. Molly
    October 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    i love your stories 🙂

    • kylebaxter
      October 8, 2009 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks so much! I love telling stories. I’m very thankful there is still an audience that wants to hear them.

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